“I’m not a person anymore”: The “survivor syndrome” and William G. Niederland’s perception of the human being.

Psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and neurologist William Guglielmo Niederland (1904–1993) received widespread acclaim for his research on Holocaust survivors, yet his other psychoanalytic work has yet to achieve comparable recognition. In this article, I will examine the affinities between Niederland’s study of the Holocaust survivors and other major works in his canon to demonstrate the cohesive nature of his worldview, philosophy, and psychoanalytic trajectory while also illuminating Niederland’s portrait of the human being. This work is divided into two sections.


The first section will deal with what I have termed as “the phenomenological sensitivity” which articulates Niederland’s unique intellectual approach of subjectively retracing his patients’ phenomenal experiences. The second section will discuss Niederland’s image of the human being at the nexus of space and time, as it emerges from a comparative reading across his various writings. Ultimately, the article will present these two recurrent elements not only to help identify Niederland’s integrated worldview which extends throughout, but also beyond his trauma work with Holocaust survivors.

Zait, J. | 2024
In: History of Psychology ; ISSN: 1093-4510 | 27 | 2 | 121–138
Holocaust (en), Survivors